The Year in R&B/Hip-Hop Charts: Drake Three-Peats as Top Artist, Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ Is Top Album
Drake scores a three-peat as he reigns as Billboard's year-end top R&B/hip-hop artist for the third straight year and fourth time overall.
Drake scores a three-peat as he reigns as the year-end top R&B/hip-hop artist for the third straight year and fourth time overall. (In addition to his current trifecta, he first led the tally in 2012.) The superstar’s latest coronation makes him the first act to have four year-end No. 1 finishes since R. Kelly took the crown in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2001.
Drake’s 2017 coronation comes largely thanks to his playlist album More Life, which ruled the weekly Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for four weeks and sent 21 of its 22 tracks onto the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including the top 10 hits “Passionfruit” (No. 5) and the Quavo and Travis Scott-assisted “Portland” (No. 6). More Life also sustained Drake’s status as a streaming dynamo, becoming the first album to pass 375 million on-demand audio streams of its songs in a single week, according to Nielsen Music.
Explore All of Billboard’s 2017 Year-End Charts
Drake leads a male-dominated recap, with the top 12 acts of the year’s top R&B/hip-hop artists ranking either solo men or all-male groups. Rihanna is the year’s top female R&B/hip-hop artist, finishing at No. 13 on the overall tally. With the shut-out, 2017 marks the first year that no women appear in the top 10 of the annual recap since 1983. That year, Michael Jackson led an all-male top 10, with Donna Summer, at No. 11, serving as the highest-ranked woman.
The gender disparity in the genre’s ranks is evident throughout the entire 2017 list: Only five women — Rihanna, SZA, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé — end the year among the genre’s top 50 acts.
Migos Makes It: Migos’ 2017 mainstream breakthrough helps the act end as the No. 1 R&B/hip-hop duo or group. The trio of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff hit new highs thanks to the viral meme smash “Bad and Boujee” and its “rain drop, drop top” lyrics. The meme — and a well-timed shout-out from Donald Glover at the Golden Globes — pushed “Boujee” to No. 1 on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for 10 weeks. The trio rallied with two more top 10 showings this year in “Motorsport,” with Cardi B and Nicki Minaj (No. 6 to date), and a featured billing on Gucci Mane’s “I Get the Bag” (No. 5). Migos’ Culture album also yielded the act its first chart-topping effort on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
The Migos moment highlights a common theme among the top duos and groups of the year: viral traction that fueled songs on the charts. Rae Sremmurd, who wraps as the No. 2 R&B/hip-hop duo or group, soared to No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with “Black Beatles” (featuring Gucci Mane) after the collaboration sparked the mannequin challenge in late 2016. In addition to plenty of social media users, the challenge’s undertakers included Destiny’s Child, Adele, Michelle Obama and a Beatle himself: Paul McCartney.
Just underneath Rae Sremmurd on the year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists – Duo/Group tally, Ayo & Teo, inventors of a challenge for their song “Rolex,” rank at No. 3 while Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall, of “Juju on That Beat,” clock in at No. 4.
Veterans A Tribe Called Quest round out the top five duos/groups, on the strength of the collective’s We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service. The album was the act’s first since 1998 and, most notably, the first since the death of member Phife Dawg in March 2016. Service opened at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Khalid Leads New Artists: Khalid, meanwhile, is the year’s No. 1 R&B/hip-hop new artist, powered by his American Teen album. Though the set debuted at No. 6 in March, it peaked at No. 3 in September in its 25th charting week — a sign of its longevity with listeners. Teen also housed a pair of top 10 hits on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: “Location” (No. 8) and “Young Dumb & Broke” (No. 8). Khalid also visited the tier a third time, as a featured guest on Logic’s No. 2-peaking “1-800-273-8255” alongside Alessia Cara.
‘DAMN.’ Good: Though Drake edges Kendrick Lamar for top R&B/hip-hop artist, the two swap places on the year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums ranking, with Lamar’s DAMN. taking the top honor. The set, which also finishes as the No. 1 album on the all-genre Billboard 200 and the year-end Top Rap Albums tally, ruled Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for 10 non-consecutive weeks since its April arrival and spun off five top 10 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
DAMN.’s finish gives Lamar his first year-end chart-topper on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums after he claimed a spot in the top 10 for each of the last two years. To Pimp a Butterfly wrapped 2015 as the No. 3 set, while untitled. unmastered landed at No. 10 last year.
As is the story with the genre’s artist rankings, the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums recap, too, is dominated by men. Rihanna again sets the benchmark for women, with her 2016 set ANTI as the top album by a female artist and No. 16 overall. SZA claims the highest year-end rank for an album released by a woman in 2017, with Ctrl at No. 18.
‘Like’ a Big Hit: On the year-end Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs tally, Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” wraps as the year’s top title. “Like” ruled the weekly chart ranking for 10 weeks and remained in the top 10 for a whopping 34 frames. Likewise, the tune parks atop the year’s tallies for R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales. On the latter, Mars also boasts the year’s runner-up, “24K Magic.”
Mars nearly tops another radio survey – Adult R&B Songs – but falls just below Childish Gambino’s “Redbone.” The song, a Grammy Award nominee for both record of the year and song of the year, reigned atop the weekly Adult R&B Songs chart for 10 frames.
‘Unforgettable’ Tops Rhythmic Songs: French Montana snatches the No. 1 crown on Rhythmic Songs with the Swae Lee-assisted “Unforgettable” from the likes of heavyweights Lamar (“Humble” – No. 2), DJ Khaled (“Wild Thoughts” – No. 3), Mars (“That’s What I Like” – No. 4) and Drake (“Fake Love” – No. 5). Though each of the No. 2-5 finishers landed more weeks at No. 1 on the weekly ranking than “Unforgettable,” Montana wins out thanks to the song’s chart longevity. “Unforgettable” posted 23 weeks in the top 10, surpassing “Humble.” (19 weeks), “Thoughts” (17), “Like” (19) and “Love” (19).
Billboard’s year-end music recaps are based on chart performance between the Dec. 3, 2016 and Nov. 25, 2017 charts. Data registered before or after a title’s chart run are not considered in these standings. That methodology detail, and the December-November time period, account for some of the differences between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are compiled independently by Nielsen Music.